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Casper named as Tour's fifth positive

Jimmy Casper (Agritubel) blamed a change in asthma meds for his positive

Jimmy Casper (Agritubel) blamed a change in asthma meds for his positive (Image credit: Brecht Decaluwé)

Frenchman Jimmy Casper (Agritubel) was named Saturday as the rider who tested positive for glucocorticoids during the Tour de France, one of seven riders to be found with the drug in his system but the only one who did not carry a Therapeutic Use Exemption for the drug. Casper blamed an error in his paperwork for the problem, and said he did not use the drug for performance enhancement, but to treat his asthma.

Casper finished came in outside the time limit on the stage to Alpe d'Huez and did not finish the Tour.

"I am asthmatic," Casper told AFP. "I did not take it as a performance boost, but for my treatment. For the twelve years I have raced I have had a TUE for the [asthma] product Syndicort. My previous TUE, which was to expire on May 29, covered the drug. On the next, there has been another product, Becotide. This product caused the positive control.

"I do not know who has been negligent, if the error came from me or the [team] doctor," said Casper. He has asked for leniency from the French Federation (FFC) and the International Cycling Union (UCI)

A similar situation occurred last year when Rabobank's Pedro Horrillo had an incorrect TUE which resulted in a positive test after the Brabantse Pijl in April, 2007. He was later cleared of doping charges.

While Horrillo was not suspended by his team, Casper's Agritubel squad took a more conservative approach. "For the moment, we have temporarily suspended him," Agritubel manager David Fornes said to AFP. "If the Federation suspends him, we will begin a procedure for dismissal."